Friday, December 8, 2023

Hawk jet in trouble even before crash in Kairu – Mika recounts crucial second in flaming plane


Mika Jakonen had to eject from a HW-320 Hawk jet in 1988 when the landing gear failed during takeoff and the aircraft caught fire.

An Air Force Hawk jet crashed in Kairu on Monday. The pilots of the plane survived because of the ejection seats.

The same HW-320 Hawk aircraft has already been rescued.

In December 1988, the landing gear of the aircraft failed during landing at Pirakkal. The crew had to use ejection seats to escape the burning aircraft which skidded on the runway.

Read more: The shocking thing about the downed fighter jet came to light – the pilots had to bail out from the same plane earlier also

Mika Jaakkonen was one of the pilots of the ill-fated flight in 1988. At the time, he was a 24-year-old lieutenant and a student in flight.

– Then it was really winter weather and pea fog. The weather was the main culprit in the accident, Jakonen tells Ilta-Snom.

Apart from Jaakkonen, there was also a flight instructor in the plane. It was a normal training flight, and the pilots were practicing instrument approaches.

In this, the runway is approached with the help of meter only. At a certain minimum altitude, the runway must be able to continue landing.

According to Jaakkonen, the humidity was so high that the runway was covered with dew.

– Since the runway was white, we never saw it, instead we followed the edge lights of the runway. We were in a bad place to land, says Jaakonen.

Mika Jaakkonen currently works as a Flight Captain at Finnair.

Mika Jaakkonen currently works as a Flight Captain at Finnair. Photo: Home album of Mika Jakonen

The Hawk landed heavily on the runway, the landing gear broke, and the aircraft caught fire. The decision to use the ejection seat had to be made in seconds.

– There was no doubt whether I would jump or not, because nothing could be seen outside except flames, recalls Jaakonen.

There is no time to think, the decision to jump comes from the spine. It was a strange place when the racks were broken down and the donkeys were lying on the ground.

The aircraft continued on the runway to a snow bank and came to a halt. It remained repairable in the crash.

The ejection seat threw the pilots to a height of about a hundred meters. Jaakonen later reflected that he may have lost consciousness for a while at that point.

– After the decision to jump, the next memory was that I was on a legal point and began to reflect on the bottom.

Jaakonen landed with a parachute next to the Snow Project’s runway. He survived the crash without any major injuries. The teacher also received minor injuries.

Aviation journalist and author Kysti Partonen photographs a fighter jet that crashed into Keru in Kaavopuisto, Helsinki in 2021.

Aviation journalist and author Kysti Partonen photographs a fighter jet that crashed in Kaiuru at Kaivopuisto in Helsinki in 2021. Photo: Kyosti Partonen

After the accident, Jaakonen wanted to fly as soon as possible.

– Of course, the first flights were exciting, but after a few flights the accident was forgotten.

After the accident, he worked as a pilot in the Air Force for 10 years. Today, he works for Finnair as a Flight Captain.

Aviation journalist and author Kyosti Partonen speculated on Monday for Ilta-Sanoam that it may also be the first time in the world that the same aircraft has been rescued twice in a real-world situation.

– I dare not say for sure, but very, very rarely, said Partonen.

According to Jaakkonen, it is a great thing that the same plane has now saved four pilots.

You have to be thankful for the good throwing seats. Human spirit is most important, machine is just iron.

The crash in Kaiuru was the 12th incident of Hawks falling from the sky in Finland. The previous one was in 2013, when two Hawks collided, resulting in the death of the pilot of one of the jets.

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